Joint Base Charleston, which is located in South Carolina, said on social media that efforts were underway to locate the aircraft with the help of Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort following a “mishap” in the afternoon.
“The pilot ejected safely. If you have any information that may help our recovery teams locate the F-35, please call the Base Defense Operations Center at 843-963-3600,” Joint Base Charleston said in a post to its X account.
We’re working with @MCASBeaufortSC to locate an F-35 that was involved in a mishap this afternoon. The pilot ejected safely. If you have any information that may help our recovery teams locate the F-35, please call the Base Defense Operations Center at 843-963-3600.
— Joint Base Charleston (@TeamCharleston) September 17, 2023
“Based on the jet’s last-known position and in coordination with the FAA, we are focusing our attention north of JB Charleston, around Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion,” Joint Base Charleston added in a second post to X.
Joint Base Charleston sent out the plea for help at 5:36 p.m. ET and the second post at 6:48 p.m. ET. As of press time, several hours later, there were no further updates on where the F-35 might be located.
A spokesperson for Joint Base Charleston said the F-35B Lightning II jet from Marine Attack Training Squadron was placed on autopilot before the pilot ejected, according to local ABC affiliate WCIV. Another news outlet, NBC affiliate WCBD, reported that Joint Base Charleston said the pilot was transported to a local medical center and in stable condition while his wingman safely landed at the base.
Despite a lack of information on the whereabouts of the missing fighter jet, there was plenty of buzz about the aircraft on social media.
“How in the hell do you lose an F-35? How is there not a tracking device and we’re asking the public to what, find a jet and turn it in?” Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) said in a post to X.
Others took political shots at President Joe Biden and his administration.
“Thank goodness the pilot ejected safely. But do we really need ‘Find My F-35‘ to locate an $80 million dollar jet? Joe Biden’s America,” said the account for the House Judiciary GOP.
“Joe Biden’s Pentagon can’t find a freaking F-35 jet, but don’t worry — they know exactly where all our money in Ukraine is going,” said The Federalist’s Sean Davis.